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A Day in the Life of Andy Neuvell

Andy joined 360-Services 8 months ago and currently works at a St Mungo’s accommodation based in Oxford. Even as a relatively new team member, he has a wealth of practical knowledge that has made him an invaluable, empathetic and professional security guard. Andy previously worked as a behavioural manager in a mental health facility. He comes to this line of work with his own personal experiences of homelessness. From both a professional and personal perspective, Andy focuses on creating relationships with residents and staff. He puts de-escalation and harm-reduction first. This creates a safe, communicative environment for everyone around him.

What drew you to working at 360-Services?

“I’ve worked with children, in health and social care, humanitarian aid and with mentally disabled people before, so I like working with a new group of people. I found the opportunity online and enjoy challenge and change, so I went for it.” Since becoming a day-time concierge, Andy has also trained and inducted new St Mungo’s staff. Beyond his title and daily tasks, he believes it’s essential he brings his previous work experience to the role; the job demands skills that can deal with conflict and emotions.

He strives to ensure members of staff engage and work together for the benefit of their residents. “I make sure relationships with residents are good and anyone who might not have experience working vulnerable people build those relationships. It can really save people and create a safer environment. You’ve got to treat everyone with compassion and respect.”

What does a typical day look like at St Mungo’s?

“When I arrive in the morning I’ll collect a detailed handover from the night staff. It could cover anything from the conflict that’s happened over night to people we haven’t seen in a few days. When I’ve gone over the handover I’ll start my basic set-up: patrol the area, answer emails, check the CCTV and do my keys jobs. This is also the opportunity to check in on particular residents and see if they’re okay. As well as the baseline job, you have to go above and beyond.” 

St Mungo’s is one of the UK’s leading homeless charities and accommodates people from a range of challenging backgrounds that can include alcoholism, self-harm, suicide and abuse. A part of Andy’s concierge work is to ensure residents can access the facilities and help they need. He comes to St Mungo’s with an abundance of experience working with vulnerable people, and is adept in building communication and connections.”I’ll help get people out of their rooms for meetings with their key workers, help book any appointments or hospital trips. Alongside maintaining the security of the building, so much of the work is about engaging with people. It’s one of the best ways to deal with conflict and harm.”

What are some of the main challenges you face?

“When you’re working with people who might be violent or have mental health issues, you go into the work knowing you could get hurt. You’re facing real-life problems, and you don’t want a 26-year-old resident to feel as if you’re above them. That’s why you need to know that person and know how to communicate with them.” For all of the 360-Services’ team, prevention is one of the most critical parts of the job. Prevention can mean several things from monitoring the building internally and externally and the safety and wellbeing of everybody.

“You need to be able to de-escalate a situation and just talk with residents so you can prevent having to contact the police as a final measure. That’s why maintaining those relationships is so important. But I also think trying to make an upbeat and communal area for everyone is really helpful, especially during Covid. A bit of compassion and comedy can go a long way.”

How has working during Covid-19 challenged you?

“We had a resident who tested positive and became a risk, but because of their mental health and experiences with paranoia, it was difficult for them to self-isolate.” Working during Covid is a particularly demanding context for Andy. As well as the preliminary guidelines he has to follow concerning social distancing, he also has to communicate with and safeguard residents and staff if they are exposed to the virus. “I wear PPE and make sure I deep-clean as I go, especially if a resident comes into contact with an area. When you’re working with any vulnerable people and their mental health isn’t there, it can be tough to explain to them what they need to do. You just have to approach them humanely and engage with them.” Again, those relationships and lines of communication are a crucial tool for safety and prevention.

What has been your most memorable work moment?

“There was a resident in distress who was violent, angry and depressed. I was able to just engage with them, sit them down, and talk to them. It meant we didn’t have to contact the police and they were able to talk to a staff member. It was a key moment for me. They were able to open up, relax and find a way of coping that didn’t depend upon substance abuse.”

Andy’s breadth of experience and knowledge goes a long way to creating a safe environment for everyone at his St Mungo’s project. Through his engagement, collaboration, and leadership, he has helped create a space to facilitate residents’ recovery. His ethos of going above and beyond has helped him become the efficient, compassionate concierge he is.

A Day in the Life of Florian

Florian began working for 360-Services in November of last year as one of our security guards. He worked as a security guard at nightclubs before he moved to 360-Services and he’s been with us ever since. He’s based at a St Mungo’s accommodation in London – St Mungo’s is one of the UK’s largest registered charities that provide shelter and help for some of the UK’s homeless population. Responsibility, due-diligence, a duty of care and professionalism are all key tenets of Florian’s role. There’s a lot learn from a day in the life of Florian’s work as a security guard, the skills required, the people he’s met and how he’s had to adapt in wake of Covid-19.  

How does a typical shift start for you?

“When I arrive in the venue I’ll get a hand-over from the St Mungo’s staff and get briefed on what happened during the day; I mainly do night shifts. This is also an opportunity to do a health and safety check of the building. This can include making sure fire extinguishers are in the right place, nothing is blocking any fire exits, there are no leaks, ensure lights are working etc. I’ll also do a welfare check if it’s necessary for anyone staying in the shelter.” These are some of the first steps Florian takes to make sure the security and facilities of the building are intact, make sure he has all the information he needs to start his work, and establish any specific requirements anyone staying in the shelter might need for the night. As well as establishing what is going on inside the building, a key part of Florian’s work is establishing what goes on just outside its walls. “I’ll take this opportunity to look at the CCTV to make sure access has only been made for people within the building.”      

How do you approach working with vulnerable people?

“I have to be aware of what kind of problems they have, whether that’s alcohol or drug addiction or mental health related; they all require different approaches. We have to be aware of where residents are and continuously assess their behaviour.” Health and safety checks, hand-overs, surveillance updates and assessments are all preliminary steps Florian takes to achieving one of the most important parts of his work: prevention. That means preventing issues arising within the building and preparing for any external influences that can compromise people’s safety. “People with drug problems are particularly vulnerable to sellers who target the shelter. We have to be vigilant of anyone hanging around outside the building and trying to make contact inside so we can send them away. You need to remain empathetic with residents whilst setting rules and boundaries, for example not allowing outside contraband like alcohol inside, or quickly deescalating a conflict that could result in a fight between residents. ”

How have you had to adapt in wake of Covid-19?

“We were very busy over lockdown and had to take extra health and safety steps in the building. This has meant temporarily closing communal areas, wearing PPE, glass walls have been installed around desks and we work to socially distance from residents.” On top of Florian’s nightly tasks that include monitoring and patrols, himself and the team are cleaning as they go throughout the night to keep the accommodation clean and secure.   

What are some of the main skills your job requires?

“Assessing people is very important. I have to remain due-diligent and aware of everything that’s going on in order to take care of everyone. I have to maintain a high level of care and communication with the residents, be patient with people, and be prepared to work the long hours, often through the night. There’s a lot of responsibility to take on and sometimes you’ll have to make quick decisions and actions. Like I said, it’s important to make prevention a priority, wherever you’re working as a security guard.”  

What are some of your most memorable work moments?

“You get to know the residents if you’re spending more time in the venue. They might want to share something with you or tell you some of the work they’ve done.” Florian is a keen trainer and enjoys running in the park and training at the gym. Beyond that, he’s also a keen fisher and made a particular bond with one of the residents. “There was a resident who was around my age and I’d share stories with him about fishing with my grandpa. It was really nice to make that connection and hear how he was getting on.”

The balance between care, responsibilities, connections, boundaries and professionalism are particularly challenging for anyone working in homeless care. Florian is dedicated to getting the balance of everything right whilst maintaining a high level of security for everyone at his St Mungo’s accommodation.

A day in the life of Sharon Grey

Sharon Grey has been a member of 360-services for the last six years. From starting out as a complete novice to becoming a highly skilled, confident, independent security guard, Sharon’s career at 360-Services shows us all about the expertise, hard work and different approaches it takes to make a great security guard.

What drew you to working at 360-Services?

“I was new to security guard work and didn’t come with any experience. I used to be a hairdresser and have my own saloon for a few years. When I left that I wanted to do something a bit different, try a new type of career, but I knew I wanted to do something more than sitting at a checkout.”

After completing her security training and becoming qualified, she was placed at St Giles International school in concierge security. From there, she’s worked with a number of 360-Services’ clients, at different venues and events. “I’ve done concierge work, car park security, door work and Notting Hill Carnival three times.” Now, she’s embarking on her new placement at one of St Mungo’s homeless shelter’s in London.

How does your security guard work engage you in community care?

“When I was working as a hairdresser I was a personal ear to my clients and the community. As the manager I’d have to deal with and confront any customers’ inappropriate behaviour and look after my staff.” Sharon wanted to transition to a career that could keep her active and engaged in community security. St Mungo’s as one of the UK’s main homeless charities has done pivotal work to look after homeless communities, especially in the challenging climate this year. “I worked at another shelter for a day in March before lockdown was issued. The staff were finding shelter for homeless people and I helped in handing out food donations; I felt really satisfied afterwards knowing I did something to help.”

Tell us more about your new job at St Mungo’s.

“I’ve done a couple of night-shifts at one of St Mungo’s other homeless shelters but this is my new placement. I’ve been here for a month now working part-time.” After working predominantly at St Giles International school, St Mungo’s has presented Sharon with a new set of challenges and people to work with. Working with vulnerable homeless people has required Sharon to adapt her skillset and approaches. “I treat people with respect regardless of their background. Working with vulnerable people who might have substance abuse issues, you have to be alert and have heightened senses; you might smell a substance or see something untoward for example. Once you get to know the vulnerable people you’re working with you can get a better idea of how best to communicate with them and find out about their needs. You have to remain calm, gentle but authoritative too.”  

What does a typical look like at St Mungo’s?

“I mainly do day-shifts. When I arrive in the morning I’ll take over from the night-shift workers. They’ll give me a handover and I’ll get an overview of what happened during the night with the residents. I’ll do a patrol of the site and make sure everything is in order. I’ll keep an eye on who’s coming in and out of the building, keep records and observations in my daily log and work with the rest of the St Mungo’s staff whenever they need help.” Throughout the day Sharon is always due-diligent of Covid-19 regulations to keep the shelter secure. “We have PPE on site, i’ll always maintain social distancing and I’m always cleaning my desk and areas to make sure it’s clean for myself and the next guard taking over from me.”

What are some of the main skills a good security guard needs?

“To be patient and observant and do the task at hand to the best of your ability. Having owned a business I know how important it is for everyone to get the job done. When you’re working as a security guard you’re also representing your company, like I’m representing 360-Services. That’s why it’s important to be conscious of your work and how you come across to people, remain professional and have high standards.”

Have you got a particular favourite work moment?

“I attended St Giles’ Christmas party last year and I was awarded for my security guard work. I didn’t even know I was getting the award, it was great to get recognition for the work I do and I got a bottle of champagne!”

With Sharon’s wealth of experience as both a business owner, team member and recognised security guard, we can’t wait to see what  great work she’ll do at St Mungo’s.  

Keeping Our Staff Safe

As the coronavirus continues to cause havoc across the UK, it is more important than ever for businesses to do their part and flatten their curve while key companies continue to provide essential services. 

Multiple reports suggest that the homeless are far more vulnerable to COVID-19 than many other individuals due to their difficulty self isolating. At 360 Services, we do provide an essential service to help the homeless in this time of great need. As such, some of our staff will need to be present at homeless shelters around the UK. 

This will be vital to ensure that vulnerable homeless individuals continue to gain the right level of protection and support that they require. 

The safety and welfare of our staff is always a top priority at 360-Services and we are fully aware of the threat this strain of the coronavirus could be to our workers. This is why we have provided all our staff still working at homeless shelters around the UK with unlimited, free hand sanitizers. 

Research shows that the main way the virus spreads is through both touch and contamination of the hands. By providing unlimited access to hand sanitizers we are delivering our staff one of the best forms of defense against this threat. 

We are confident that this will allow our staff to remain safe while still continuing to help those in need and ensure that homeless charities across the UK gain the right level of support. At 360-Services we are committed to protecting our team while ensuring that those on the streets and in shelters are not abandoned. 

The Importance of SWEP – (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol)

We are proud to work with St Mungo’s, the community housing association charity which provides valuable care and support to our country’s homeless.

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